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Fox and Friends and Milk

The hosts of Fox News’ morning show “Fox and Friends” (“More fun than a spinal tap since 1999!”) just emceed the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences broadcast that announced the nominees for this year’s Oscars. Short version: No movie is dominating the awards, largely because the unknown cast of “Slumdog Millionaire” didn’t get any acting nominations. However, Gus Van Sant’s political drama, “Milk,” scored nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor (Sean Penn, who plays murdered gay activist and politician, Harvey Milk), Best Supporting Actor (Josh Brolin, who plays Milk’s killer, Dan White), and Best Director.

“Milk bombed at the box office!” said a dazzled Brian Kilmeade. Milk made less money than nominees “Slumdog Millionaire” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” but it’s been more successful than the other two nominees. “Milk” cost $20 million to make and has reeled in $20.5 million. “Frost/Nixon” cost $25 million and has made $9 million, while “The Reader” cost $32 million and has made $8 million.

This struck me because three years ago, another gay-themed film, “Brokeback Mountain,” was nominated for nine Oscars, and Fox News hosts insisted that the movie was unsuccessful.

“I believe this is a Hollywood favorite even though it may not be a box office favorite,” said then-host John Gibson. “Are they going to just lavish this movie with awards?” The irony was that “Brokeback Mountain” was a smash, grossing $83 million, more than the mediocre drama “Crash,” which won that year’s Oscar for Best Picture. And “Brokeback Mountain” was a romantic drama, historically a higher-grossing genre than the political biopic.

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